by Jen Donovan
A new White House Initiative titled Together for Tomorrow has been introduced by the Obama administration to help transform low-performing school systems. The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) have joined forces to promote community involvement in turning around schools at risk. The theory is that the communities will feel a shared sense of responsibility to help students succeed. Cultivating a sense of community culture will provide a support system for teachers, principals, and students, both in and outside the classroom. The initiative will also engage families to partner with the community to help improve student attendance, behavior, course performance and college access.
Local non-profit and faith organizations will also play an important role in the relationship between schools and community. Services through Together for Tomorrow will be available to guide community organizations on learning how to manage funding from federal, private, and non-profit sources. The Together for Tomorrow initiative will also detail how to connect with local organizations and volunteers to provide support in individual communities.
The program will highlight exceptional schools that follow the community-oriented approach to education. These schools have been recognized as models for the goals of the initiative; however each community will undoubtedly have its own unique culture and connection with educating students for the future.
One of the most exemplary instances of community involvement with education comes from Orlando FL, at Memorial Middle School. This school is also one of six demonstration sites for Together for Tomorrow showing the initiative in action through a partnership between Heart of Florida United way, the Orange County Public Schools and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
Community participation is also implemented and demonstrated in the following cities: Center and Denver, Colorado; New Haven, Connecticut; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Memphis, Tennessee. Together for Tomorrow will allow the community to see just how imperative education is for the future of its members, for the future of the community itself, and in to prepare students as members of the greater global community.
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